Amid corporate-generated hysteria
Libya’s Qaddafi to visit New York
Published Sep 21, 2009 10:16 PM
Libyan leader Mummar Qaddafi will attend the annual United Nations General
Assembly in New York City later this month amid a corporate-media provoked
racist campaign to prevent him from staying in Englewood, N.J., on a plot of
land owned by Libya’s U.N. Mission. Libya’s government announced on
Aug. 31 that Qaddafi, who is also chairperson of the continental African Union,
would not stay in Englewood but remain in New York City during the General
Assembly gathering of over 150 heads of state from around the globe.
This campaign of anti-Libyan hysteria is part of the fallout emanating from the
Scottish government’s decision to release Libyan Abdel Basset al-Megrahi
from prison Aug. 20 on humanitarian grounds, as al-Megrahi was recently
diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. Al-Megrahi had been convicted in
connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in
December 1998. A former airline executive, al-Megrahi has always maintained his
innocence, and was in the process of appealing his conviction when he was
In response to al-Megrahi’s release, Washington has resumed political
attacks on the Libyan government. President Barack Obama said that the Libyan
government should have placed al-Megrahi under house arrest and that welcoming
him by the people of this North African country was a
Some Englewood residents and its mayor said they would protest Qaddafi’s
visit and even block him from setting up a tent on the land the Libyans own.
These efforts illustrate the renewed attacks on the Libyan government, which
U.S. imperialism has for years called a “terrorist state.”
Under former President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. bombed Libya in April 1986,
killing scores of people and attacking Qaddafi’s family, even killing one
of his daughters. The African country had been subjected to economic sanctions
and a ban on flights from other nations.
In a letter published in the New York Times on Aug. 30, Saif Al-Islam
El-Qaddafi, the son of the Libyan leader, disputed Western press reports that
the former political prisoner was given a “hero’s welcome.”
He said that the people who welcomed al-Megrahi were largely his relatives and
He wrote that “Libya has worked with Britain, the United States and other
Western countries for more than five years now to defuse the tensions of
earlier times, and to promote trade, security and improved relations. I believe
that clarifying the facts in the Lockerbie case can only further assist this
Libya commemorates 40 years of revolution
Libya had been colonized by Italy during the early part of the 20th century.
Even though it was granted formal independence in 1951, Libya remained largely
under the influence of the West. On Sept. 1, 1969, Col. Mummar Qaddafi led a
popular coup against the Western-backed monarchy of King Idris and the
Qaddafi headed a group within the military—the Revolutionary Command
Council—which in 1969 proclaimed the Libya Arab Republic. The motto of
the RCC was “freedom, socialism, and unity” and the group pledged
itself to eliminating injustice and backwardness. After negotiating with
Washington, the RCC government told U.S. military forces to leave Libya and
close Wheelus Air Base.
Libya also provided assistance to various national liberation movements and
progressive governments throughout the Arab world and Africa. The government
Qaddafi heads has utilized the vast oil reserves in the country to build up the
national infrastructure and to provide education for the Libyan masses and
other visitors from throughout the world.
“In recent years the entire country has slowly begun to resemble one
massive construction site. ‘Flats are going up all over Libya,’
says business consultant Sami Zaptia. ‘After September 1, we expect some
announcements as to who exactly is going to get the houses.’” (BBC,
A special African Union meeting in Libya as well as the erection of large-scale
housing developments marked Libya’s 40th anniversary celebrations.
According to the Energy Information Administration, “Libya, a member of
the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), holds the largest
proven oil reserves in Africa, followed by Nigeria and Algeria. The Oil and Gas
Journal (OGJ) says that Libya had total proven oil reserves of 43.7 billion
barrels as of January 2009, up from 41.5 billion barrels in 2008. About 80
percent of Libya’s proven oil reserves are located in the Sirte basin,
which is responsible for 90 percent of the country’s oil output.”
(Official energy statistics from the U.S. government)
In recent years Libya has emerged from the U.S.- and British-imposed sanctions
and isolation. Italy, Libya’s former colonial ruler, will honor the 40th
anniversary celebration with a display by its Air Force aerobatics team. Trade
between Libya and Italy has expanded significantly over the last few years.
Libya has also extended its economic cooperation agreements with other
countries throughout the European continent. The country provides 20 percent of
the natural gas supplies to Switzerland. It has agreements to supply natural
gas to Spain and Italy as well.
The Libyans have also held discussions with Britain and the United States about
resuming economic cooperation. It was reported that the release of al-Megrahi
was related to ongoing negotiations involving oil exploration and
Libya’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of the revolution has been
acknowledged by governments throughout the African continent and the world.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe traveled to Libya to participate in the AU
meeting there and to recognize the achievements of the country over the last
Libyan special envoy Mukthar Ganas visited Zimbabwe in early August to invite
President Mugabe to the AU summit and the revolutionary festivities.
Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World.
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Email: [email protected]
Subscribe [email protected]
Support independent news DONATE